4 words that may change shopping forever

“I’m hungry.” “I’m bored.”

Groupon is building an entire experience around these four simple words with a unique little app called Groupon Now. The idea is that users open the Groupon Now mobile application and are presented with two buttons: “I’m hungy” and “I’m bored.” After selecting an option, the application presents users with a list of time-sensitive deals based on their location.

“It makes Google’s market look quite small if we get it right. It’s really tapping into the largest part of commerce in the U.S.—local,” says Groupon investor Harry Weller.

That’s where the ingenuity of Groupon Now lies. Offering consumers the ability to receive and redeem a mobile coupon one step after they’ve decided to buy drastically deviates from the traditional consumer purchase-decision process. In fact, it streamlines the entire process by eliminating the need to search for information and evaluate alternatives. The closest business offering the best deal will win. This one application could have the power to change the way consumers, well, consume.

There is, however, one very obvious flaw—the Groupon Now concept isn’t completely revolutionary or original. Afterall, the idea of couponing has been around for decades, and sites such as LivingSocial and Yelp! have built solid business models around people being hungry, bored or sometimes both. And those two sites don’t even being to scratch the surface of the growing list of daily-deal services.

Over the last year, 400 businesses have emerged with business models similar to Groupon. Everyone from bootstrap startups, such as Tippr and BuyWithMe, to Internet giants, such as Google and Facebook, has a horse in the daily deals race.

“Groupon Now is an attempt to build something that’s much more difficult to replicate: a huge, liquid market for consumer foot traffic,” says Businessweek reporters Brad Stone and Douglas MacMillan

Still not sold? Think about this: A December 2010 Microsoft survey reported that 50 percent of people in the US with GPS-enabled mobile devices used location-based services. Among that group, a third used location-based services for shopping or coupons. Within the next year, that means 14 million people will be looking for location-based coupons.
And, if you haven’t noticed by now, this isn’t your grandmother’s couponing.

“Groupon clearly believes Groupon Now is the future, so much so that its employees call the current iteration of its daily deals service ‘Groupon 1.0,’” says Mashable Blogger Ben Parr. “The coupon giant believes that its new offering will provide it with a unique technology and value proposition that will keep it ahead of the pack. With 70+ million subscribers and growing, Groupon will also have a big head start.”

Is Groupon Now a sign of things to come? Well, we won’t have to wait long to find out. The mobile app is slated to launch this month.